Build Guide by Jet
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Welcome to my guide to play Gangplank as a supportive carry. Like all builds, this isn't the "definitive" way to play him, however I like to use this build and when I play him this way it works, so I thought I'd share it with everyone!
When I say "Supportive Carry" I refer to a carry that can help their team in various ways, such as high damage output, crippling the enemy team and providing strong support for the team. Gangplank does this through:
A) Heavy Critical damage with Infinity Edge, heavy normal attacks with Last Whisper and Yuumou's Ghostblade.
B) Denying the enemy carries and solo lanes with Raise Morale, slowing their leveling and farming.
C) Using Raise Morale in teamfights for massive damage and movement speed boosts.
D) Using Shurelya's Reverie for mobility.
While I feel this is a solid guide, it may not work for everybody. This build and guide requires you to take risks, be very aggressive and not to be afraid to get your hands dirty, by being in the center of teamfights when necessary. For people used to "Critical Gangplank" this may be a massive jump in gameplay for you. If you've played "Tankplank" successfully before, this build should be familiar in some way, and will be easier to follow.
I've had great success with this build, getting me up to 1820 ELO on the European Servers from the 1500's, and hope this guide will help you as much as it has with me!
I'd like to thank everyone for telling me I messed up the introduction and had the masteries in here. APPRECIATE IT GUYS. ;(
Pros / Cons
Gangplank has a lot of pros for a carry that heavily outweigh his cons, and his cons can be countered with good mobility, positioning and item builds.
- Has the only deny in the game.
- Has the ability to cripple an entire team by denying their carry gold and experience early on.
- Amazing early game farmer with the ability to keep his lane pulled to his turret.
- His damage output becomes amazing with only Infinity Edge.
- Extremely long lane sustainability.
- Great survivability, only champion with a built in Cleanse on low cooldown.
- Has the best DPS-based passive in the game.
- Can support the team with ultimate from any location, allowing him to farm non-stop.
- The only DPS champion with a team-based buff.
- His ultimate is his main source of damage early game, not good at harassing early game.
- If you are bad at last hitting, you cannot play Gangplank.
- Requires Infinity Edge before he can compete with other DPS champion's damage output (if they build properly).
- Cannot withstand hard hitting DPS/burst until fully itemized.
Grog Soaked Blade is the gangplanks passive, that works like a mini-ignite on hit. Damage over time, reduced healing makes it the best DPS passive out there. When possible, tag anyone with it. In teamfights, with the help of ghost, you can easily go through the team to tag important people and deal damage with parley and normal attacks.
Parrrley is your main skill. You use it for harassment, farming, killing, basically everything. With the gold bonus it gives per kill, it's very important you last hit minions with this. When Parrrley lands critical, it will HURT. This makes it one of the best ranged skills in the game. It can hurt too with Armor Penetration when it doesn't land critical, which is why I suggest getting Armor Penetration items and runes over critical chance items / critical damage runes.
Remove Scurvy is the best self heal in the game, granting you a lot of HP and a cleanse, this is the skill that keeps you in lane early game and keeps you in the fray in teamfights.
Raise Morale is the ONLY skill that can deny, making gangplank one of the strongest laners in the game. It gives him a passive Movement Speed and Attack Buff, and using it on a minion doubles the effect and gives the buff to everyone around you. This allows him to keep lanes close to him for farming and denies the enemy of Gold and Experience. It also helps him push lanes.
You can also use this on friendly Teemo's Mushrooms, rallys, wards, Annie's Tibbers, Shaco's Jack in The Boxes and Mordekaiser Ghost's. If you have Twisted Fate on your team, denying friendly units will grant you 2 gold every time.
Cannon Barrage is an Area of Effect nuke / slow that is random. There is various uses for it which I explain in the cannon barrage section. Although it can potentially tear through teams on its own, it usually tends to only land one or two cannonballs on an enemy champ, however if they keep moving around in the area they will get hit more often, making it amazing to use in teamfights where everyone in constantly repositioning.
I always build my masteries 9-0-21, this allows you to have a stronger early game, with nice early regen and cooldown reduction, you are able to constantly deny minions as well as use Parley to last hit most of the time. The movement speed masteries and raise morale allow you to stay at level 1 boots while maintaining the same speed that most other champions would have with level 2 boots.
Why don't you use offensive masteries?
For this build, I feel they are not important. The magic penetration and cooldown helps, but the rest of the masteries do not really change my gameplay as much as the utility masteries do.
Why Support and not Critical?
While Critical Gangplank does have very high damage output, you are an extreme glass cannon. Using this build, it allows you to deal high damage while having good resistance, allowing you to be a strong off-tank for the team.
This doesn't mean that Critical Gangplank is bad, however he is more reliant on having a good team than Supportive Gangplank would be. A common problem when you play Critical Gangplank is that if your teams tanks or support is going a bad job, there's little stopping the enemy team from taking you out.
With Gangplank as an off-tank, you're able to do good damage to the enemy team while giving you enough survivability to constantly be there for your team, in the enemy team during fights and makes it difficult for you to be picked off. Additionally, when you play off-tank Gangplank, the enemy has no choice but to try and focus you down, since when left alone, with any build, Gangplank does extreme amounts of damage.
Since you're able to be inside the enemy team, it makes it easier for the rest of your team to push into them and take them out. With the aid of items like Shurelya's Reverie it makes it a lot easier for your team to position themselves in a more favourable area, or to easily go through the enemy team to where their support or ranged DPS would be, allowing you to take them out and make the teamfight extremely easier for you.
To summarise this, this build allows you to do more for the team, and also makes it easier to carry your team to victory, if they're bad or not. Critical Gangplank has his merits, but is extremely team dependant. When you start playing against good teams, and they have good DPS and Burst champions, it becomes very difficult to sucessfully play Critical Gangplank. It is also made worse if your team is not very good, or your tank and support are getting decimated in seconds.
For the sake of carrying your team and having a scarier presence in teamfights, support Gangplank / Off-tank Gangplank is the way to go.
- Ghost: Allows you to return quickly to your lane early game, allows you to maneuver the map faster, helps escaping and helps chase. Must have on most champions, especially Gangplank. This will always be your main summoner.
- Exhaust: While not a must-have on Gangplank, it gives you a strong CC to weaken their strongest burst / DPS in teamfights and allows you to easily 1 v 1 champions. Can be good for laning phase too when you need to escape or someone is diving you.
- Clairvoyance: If your team doesn't have one, you can get this as your second summoners.
- Flash: Good for juking, chasing and escaping, but you already have ghost. If you feel that you don't need the other summoners, you can take this with ghost.
- Teleport: Good if you feel unsure if you'll be completely harassed early game, allows you to not miss much on exp / gold when going back for items and can help with getting items faster. Not needed much besides from that.
- Heal: You have one on a shorter cooldown and heals more anyway, with a cleanse built in.
- Fortify: Doesn't synergise with Gangplank, and requires 19 points in Defense to be good.
- Clarity: You won't have early mana problems with this build if you're careful.
- Rally: Useless.
- Cleanse: Banshee's and Remove Scurvy are enough to cancel most CC. If you need cleanse for their team you shouldn't be playing Gangplank anyway.
- Smite: You won't be needing it.
- Revive: Pirates don't need revive.
- Ignite: Useful for first bloods, but you have your passive for migitating a teams healing. Only take this if your team doesn't have one or needs it (see: Vladimir and Dr. Mundo)
ARMOR PENETRATION Marks, Mana/5/level Seals, Flat Cooldown Glyphs and ARMOR PENETRATION Quintessences.
Why no Critical chance/damage marks or quintessences? Although they help critical hits, they do not effect your non-criticals hits in anyway, making you even more reliant on critical hits. If you are relying on getting lucky to do the majority of your damage, you're playing Gangplank wrong. You want ALL of your attacks to be effective. This also allows Parley to do good damage while not being a critical.
Cannon Barrage is one of the strongest ultimates in the game, however has a luck factor involved. Sometimes you can wreck entire teams with it alone, sometimes you might even only hit one champion in a teamfight.
Here, I'm going to list basic to advanced ways of using the ultimate to support your team.
- Initiating Teamfights by casting on the enemy team.
- Defending Turrets by casting infront of the turret..
- Assisting Ganks.
- Blocking off escape routes, forcing enemies to go into your team or your ultimate.
- Helping lane pushes and turret dives by casting it behind the enemy turret.
- Zoning over-extending enemies, which can also fall under defending turrets.
- With the aid of sight ward's and Clairvoyance you can use your ultimate to attempt to steal dragon or baron, or initiate teamfights at those locations.
- Before an actual gank, using your ultimate where the enemy is going to go can make them move forward, making them more vulnerable.
- If you are pushing and Cannon Barrage is up before they respawn, hold tab to see when they respawn. When they do, use it between the nexus and the fountain steps so that you have more time to push or retreat. Couple this with Shurelya's reverie's Active and you can get out of there in seconds with no risk.
Trinity force is a common item used in guides / around low elo on gangplanks. While it looks good in theory, the benefits from it are extremely low compared to, let's say, Frozen Mallet.
Trinity Force/Sheen DOES NOT effect bonus damage, only your base stats.
- At level 18, you have 106 base attack. This means when Trinity Force procs, you are gaining an extra 159 damage. A B. F. Sword is 2.2k cheaper than trinity force, and when you land a critical, you gain 160 damage when you have Infinity Edge
- However, this bonus damage is migitated by armor and does not affect your critical damage.
- If you were hitting critical attacks for 800 on a squishy, your criticals would only hit for 959 now (on the basis of 0 armor).
Pros of Trinity Force
- Gives 15% Crit, 30 AD.
- Boosts your base attack for Parrrley.
Cons of Trinity Force
- Costs 4k gold for average stats, some which don't benefit you much / at all.
- Chance based slow.
- Base damage increase with Sheen effect doesn't proc on critical damage.
- Less effective compared to late-game items, good starting item but you need to rush Infinity Edge to do any sort of damage.
- Building Trinity Force instead of Survivability + damage hybrid item's like Frozen Mallet and Atma's Impaler means you're making yourself more glass cannon for very little overall benefit.
Instead of Trinity Force, you can get a Frozen Mallet late-game instead, and it works better.
Frozen Mallet vs Trinity Force
- 820 Gold Cheaper.
- Provides 450 HP more, 10 less AD but a constant 30% slow.
- Doesn't give AS, Critical Chance, Base Attack increase with spell.
Being cheaper and providing a constant slow, AD and more than double the HP of Trinity Force compensates for the lack of attack speed, critical chance (which you don't need at this point either really) and the sheen effect, which doesn't stack with critical's anyway. Your damage output will already be good at this point in the game, you need the HP to survive longer.
If you want damage and survivability for your 6th item, go with Frozen Mallet.
While it is a decent item if you only use Parrrley for damage, in this build melee attacks will be your main source of damage, and we utilise all of gangplanks tools available to him.
Bad Items for Gangplank
This section will include a list of items that you should generally never touch on Gangplank for this build, it may be because they are ineffective for their cost compared to items, lack of synergy on gangplank or that they just are bad choices overall.
Mejai's Soulstealer, Leviathan and Sword of the Occult:
These items do not belong on Gangplank. Snowball items can be nice when you have an amazing Early game, but you want to save up your gold for your Infinity Edge. Not only that, but the only one you would benefit from is Sword of the Occult, and you require atleast 6 kills to make it cost effective. Early game, you're very squishy, so you can lose stacks quicker than you'll gain.
Early Avarice Blade's:
While having one Avarice blade is okay if you're going to build it into Youmuu's Ghostblade later on in the game, it is not okay to get more than one early game. It takes 25 minutes for you to get the gold back from the passive, and it has no real benefit early game. You're not going to be doing significant damage with criticals early game, and you should be farming non-stop in the laning phase. If you want gold and good laning items, consider Philosopher's Stone's, since the regen allows you to constantly use raise morale and parrrley aswell as heal harassment without having to use your heal.
Manamune is an item that you have to build early game to make the most of it mid game. For this exact reason, you should not be building it. You shouldn't be getting early mana problems with my builds, and mana isn't a problem after the 15-20 minute mark. You want your Infinity Edge as soon as possible, and sinking 2000 gold into Manamune slows down your potential DPS. Infinity Edge does more damage than Manamune would for you.
Critical, Damage over Time, lifesteal, reduced healing - everything you want early game! Wrong. Grog Soaked Blade already provides you a Damage over Time and reduced healing at level 1, that does more. Early lifesteal won't help you more than level 2 Remove Scurvy would, since you'll be doing mediocre damage. And mid-game and late-game, you won't need the lifesteal because your heal will have a low cooldown, and you don't have the Attack Speed to constantly make up for being in the middle of a teamfight. This means you're buying Executioner's Calling for the critical only, and even then, you could build a Zeal that turns into Phantom Dancer which has way more benefits for you.
Ability Power Items:
Don't buy them. Ever.
Last hitting is when you ignore minions and only hit them to either:
- Land the killing blow, earning you gold.
- Keep them from damaging your turret.
This is a very important strategy, and is always used above Mid-ELO. The benefits of this are:
- You will almost always land the killing blow, instead of letting the minions deal the final blow.
- Your lane will not be pushed into the enemies side of the lane, so you aren't "over extending", making you less prone to ganking.
What do these benefits have to do with Gangplank? Parrrley gives extra gold when you kill anything with it, and Raise Morale forces the enemy to push your lane. This means that you get significantly more gold already while they are getting less gold + experience AND they are in your territory, making them more vulnerable to ganking and harassment!
When you are at your turret, you are almost always safer from harassment. As Gangplank, you can heal yourself when you get harassed a significant amount, making the enemies hard work poking you all for nothing.
It is very important you know how to last hit minions with Parrrley. If you can't do that, you're putting one of the best farming skills to waste and slowing your overall gold income.
When it comes to mid-game / late-game, you can get away with auto-attacking minions since you do enough damage usually to kill them quickly and you want the minions to be close to the middle of the map so you have more time to protect a turret if they suddenly push lanes, etc.
Now some of you will probably laugh at this and go "OMG that's a support item!! Why would you build that!! You can get a B.F Sword for damage!!" - Yes, I could. But I don't need more damage. At this point I want the cooldown bonus and the movement speed Active for my team.
This item works amazingly well on Gangplank. The philosopher stone you get early for it helps with your laning phase farming and denying and mid/late game the Regen helps you to constantly spam Parrrley and Remove Scurvy without having to blue pill.
The active, 40% movement speed buff for 3 seconds, on a 1 minute cooldown, is amazing. The low cooldown allows you to constantly use it without worry, using it to move to a more favorable position for a teamfight, move your team between lanes and through the jungle quicker, and to push into the enemy team or push away from the enemy team in a teamfight.
Ideally, yes, but most support champions don't benefit from Shurelya's. The only champion I can see who would use it the most is Support Alistar and Soraka. However, they could both get Aura based items like Soul Shroud instead. The more gold they put into their survivability and aura support, the better they are for the team.
With Gangplank's ability to farm so well, he can easily pour gold into aiding his survivability and his teams survivability. With Raise Morale and Shurelya's Reverie active, your entire team can easily position themselves to win teamfights.
Item Build + Gameplay
Starting with 2 Faerie Charms and 3 Health Potions, skill Raise Morale and head to the nexus turret that points to top lane. If you're solo, this will be better for you. If not, just ask your lane partner to last hit and stay at the tower if it's 2 v 2, or if they have a jungler then ask your lane partner to zone them while you deny.
When minions spawn, shoot the first melee creep coming out. While walking to lane you'll be able to shoot one more melee. Prioritize Raise Morale with Tank Minion --> Melee -> Caster. If the enemy is trying to last hit any minion while you have raise morale up, you can deny before they land the hit. Raise morale will keep your minions pushed towards your lane.
Make sure to use Parley whenever possible to last hit a minion. If minions start attacking your turret, start auto attacking so they start hitting you or so that less damage gets done to the turret. Otherwise, ignore your minions so you can last hit better, with a normal attack or with Parley.
You will be out leveling your lane. If they have duo laners and you're solo, you will hit 6 by the time they hit level 4. If you're duo laning or they are solo laning, you'll hit 6 by the time they start hitting 5, assuming they aren't being zoned.
By keeping minions at your turret, the enemy is always over-extending to last hit or get experience. This makes it easier for your jungler, if you have one, to gank. If your team has a Shaco, Nunu or Udyr, they can easily get a kill with your ultimate, possibly a double kill. With Warwick or Amumu, you might need to wait till they are 6 or if your enemies around 60% HP. With Exhaust, you can make ganks even easier, and stop people with flash and ghost from escaping, giving your jungler enough time to hit them with Lizard buff to completely slow them.
You want to stay in lane for as long as possible. Look around your allies lanes to see if they would benefit from your ultimate for killing or getting them off their turret. If not, use your ultimate on your lane, if needed, to harass the enemy and quickly farm the minions. It would be better if you saved your ultimate and told your team you have it ready.
You ideally want to stay in lane until you hit 1650 gold. If you're getting harassed strongly earlier, you can go back early and get one Philosopher's Stone and more potions, but that most likely won't be needed. Once you hit 1650 gold, or you feel you want to back after getting more than that, you will want to buy your 2 Philosopher's Stones, level one boots, a sight ward and 2 potions.
Before heading back to your lane, if your ultimate is up, see if your turret is being attacked or if your enemy is free-farming. If no one else is needing your ultimate, use it on your lane to clear minions or to harass them so they can't farm while you aren't there. You are going to want to stay in lane until their turret is pushed, so you can get as much gold as possible.
Once you hit level 5 Parley, last hitting will become ridiculously easy to do. You'll probably be able to last hit every 2nd minion with Parley. If you want, you can melee last hit minions and start dealing harassment to your enemy with Parley, but this is only if they don't have any self-sustaining skills, like Nidalee's heal, or if they aren't good at migitating damage, like Malphite and Janna. You can also harass with your melee hits, just to slowly poke them down, along with your Parley.
With the help of your Philosopher's Stones, you can easily recovery from harassment at this point and constantly throw Parley and Raise Morale without any worries to your Mana. This is why you become extremely good at farming at this point.
If you need to assist your team, you have your ultimate. Most situations can be stopped with your ultimate, like a 5 man push on middle, giving your team enough time to get to lane to protect it. If your team is trying to gank, again, use your ultimate. You don't want to leave your lane, your ultimate allows you to help your team from your lane while you continuously farm.
The only situation you want to leave your lane to help your team is if they are close to you. If they are in the river close to you, in the enemy lizard area, your golem area, you should go help. To help your team, you can use raise morale on any nearby wards for stat boosts, harass with Q at range and melee them if they get close. Using your ultimate in these situations, use your ultimate on them and ghost in and get personal with your team. Your melee's will disable their healing and you can throw Exhaust to weaken their DPS.
You should be significantly farmed at this point. If you've been last hitting very well and getting assists or even kills with your ultimate, you will easily have 4k or be very close to 4k for your Infinity Edge. If not, continue farming. If their turret is down in your lane, go start ganking or kill neutral creeps with Parley for gold.
When you do hit 4k gold, go back to town and get your Infinity Edge. If you have 4.5k gold, get Null-Magic Mantle, or if you have 5k gold, finish your Mercury's Treads.
With any left over gold, buy more sight wards if your team hasn't.
At this point, team fights will definitely be happening if they already weren't. With teamfights, you want to harass from a distance with Parley before initiating and use raise morale on any nearby ward or minion as you initiate. You can initiate by using Ghost, throwing your ultimate on their team or behind their team (if in jungle, on their team, if in a lane, behind them. You want to quickly tag their team with your normal attacks, and go for their DPS or strongest burst with Exhaust. If you get CC'd or people start focusing you, use Remove Scurvy and back out.
When you win teamfights, push the closest turret using raise morale to make it quicker. If you're the only one alive after a teamfight, go back to town if you have 1400 or more gold. If you died, same thing.
When you get 1400 gold, or 1850, buy your Shurelya's Reverie and upgrade your boots to Mercury's Treads. With the help of Shurelya's you can start giving your team super mobility, allowing you to easily move together and quickly as a team, enabling for good positioning or for good initiations during teamfights.
The rules are still the same for teamfighting, only this time, if shurelya's is up before a teamfight, you can quickly go into their team and destroy their carry / main DPS. You should save it for after the teamfight or when people start running away or you need to run away. Shurelya's Active gives you so much extra speed, I can't even mention how many times it's helped us escape with a few people so we could defend turrets or pick off someone who almost got away.
At this point in the game, you will buy your items in this order:
After you buy banshee's, and you are ready to buy brutalizer or ghostblade, sell the philosopher's stone left over.
Once you get your Banshee's Veil and Last Whisper, you will be a strong and hard to kill damage dealer, who will be able to tank hits for your team and quickly pick off your enemies carry and burst.
If they game isn't over at this point, tell your team to do baron if it's up.
If the enemy team know you're doing Baron, or have it warded, try to lure them into a fight. With your ultimate, shurelya's and raise morale (if possible), your team will be extremely mobile and can quickly push into their team, or back away from them if needed.
Your priority is to exhaust their DPS and take them out as soon as possible. You will have strong hits, and your ultimate will tear through their team as well. Use Yuumou's active to make your damage output even higher, and make your mobility extremely high. You will be able to take on tanks at this point too, so don't be afraid to land a few hits on them.
When the enemy is dead, take baron, push. You can easily backdoor with your team at this point, and if there are any nearby minions, use Raise Morale on them. Push as much as you can. When their team start respawning, use your ultimate between their nexus and the fountain steps. Keep pushing until most of their team is up, then use shurelya's to get your team out of there quickly.
If you're fully itemized and still have gold, buy all exliers and even and oracles. With Elixer of Fortitude, Elixer of Agility, Infinity Edge, Last Whisper and Youmuu's Ghostblade, you'll be a human-pirate wrecking ball. Your damage output will be so high, with a basic team you'll simply tear through them in seconds.
Repeat this until you've finally pushed to their nexus, or lost your nexus!
After the game, if you won, congratulate your team and tell the enemies it was a good game. If you lost, tell your team it was a good try, and still tell your enemies it was a good game.
This means that all of your builds SHOULD have those 3 items, and the other 3 can be moved around so that you can build yourself better for the enemy team composition or for your own team. Here are some item's you can change:
Instead of Youmuu's Ghostblade, you can take Phantom Dancer if your team is lacking in DPS lategame, or if they focus your main DPS.
If you feel you don't need Banshee's Veil because they have little CC or a more physical team, you can replace it with Sunfire Cape or Thornmail.
If they have a squishy team composition, you can replace Last Whisper with Youmuu's Ghostblade or The Black Cleaver.
The benefits of this build allows you to quickly reduce their armor to very small amounts, allowing you to hit like a truck, while giving you good survivability and mobility.
This build gives you high health, high armor, high regeneration and strong hits. This build can also allow you to tank turrets for your team, or backdoor turrets with low health (<40%).
This build allows you to off-tank for your team while giving you a strong presence in teamfights, with high damage, mobility and area damage while you melee them. This build can also be labeled as an "anti-carry" build, as it allows you to easily go through their team and hurt their carries quickly, crippling their damage.
Gangplank is a strong supportive champion. With high damage output thanks to Infinity Edge, you can build him to fit your team afterwards. Giving him tanking items and supportive items improves his overall team fight presence, and allows you to give your entire team extra mobility as well as improved damage output.
I hope you've enjoyed reading my Gangplank guide, please leave feedback, good or bad!
this guide has last been updated on the 22nd of February 2011 at 05:40 AM GMT, all information is up-to-date with patch version 1-0-0-111!
Future Plans for the Guide
Overview information: I will read over this to make sure items are up-to-date along with skills and gameplay mechanics.
Improve Content: With feedback I will be able to add additional information to make the guide easier for you, the readers, to understand. At the moment, I feel the guide has a lot of information, but could be polished up.
Insert formulas and damage calculations with items: To show proof of why I feel items are bad for gangplank and to make it easier for you to understand why.
Teamfight video content: While this is difficult to do on my PC, I will be attempting to record my gameplay and use replay footage to find good moments of ultimate usage and how to improve your presence in teamfights.